31 life size figures of women are now set to tour the UK as an interactive campaign to raise awareness of issues surrounding secondary breast cancer after a small residency with the support of The Corn Exchange in Manchester.
I was totally shocked and saddened by the news that friend Leila Asoko died on 30th November.
A vibrant, intelligent, passionate, articulate, beautiful, ballsy, black woman who came on the abcd retreat in June 2021.
One of the feelings I remember most about my treatment for primary breast cancer in 2013 is my strength leaving me… I was on my lunch break after starting chemotherapy (yes I worked through treatment – I was 31 and freelance) and it felt like my stomach muscles just turned to jelly and tumbled out onto the pavement (invisibly – nobody else had a clue what was going on).
Metastatic breast cancer is not only taking the lives of 31 women per day. In the limited time they have left women living with this disease are experiencing financial hardship.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my primary cancer, at 35 in July 2016 I was determined that I wouldn’t let cancer take over my life. I sat in a chair and thought I’d have 8 months of treatment and be done with it. Oh. What a fool I was.
Birthday and cancerversaries became bittersweet as I was dealing with the realities of cancer, the side effects, the constant fear of the unknown, the helplessness, the indignity of losing who you are, who you were, even things you take for granted like walking up your own stairs or getting out the bath (because the treatment has made you weak).
And so, I feel with every year I am living with MBC, with every new treatment and with every progression, I am like a china doll. Leaving broken pieces of me behind.
Under NICE rules, I would not be eligible to receive the medication that I am currently taking for my metastatic breast cancer on the NHS. I have been on my current drug regime since 2017, I am feeling really well, my disease is stable, and my scans are clear.
I began taking Palbociclib over 3 years ago, badgering my Oncologist and accessing it through a free trial set up by Pfizer. The trial was designed to sway NICE into approving the drug for NHS use, despite it’s high price.
Stage 4 breast cancer with a pacemaker
Most people know someone with a pacemaker, and chances are that person will be elderly. The average age of a first pacemaker implantation in the UK is 72, but pacemakers are actually fitted in people of all ages from newborn babies to the very elderly. I was 39 when I had mine, which was needed as a complication after heart surgery to replace my aortic valve and root.
I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in April 2018. It didn’t come as a surprise to me as my mum had died from breast cancer a few years earlier having been diagnosed with primary breast cancer in her 30s.
There is a natural instinct when you are diagnosed with something like cancer to seek out like-minded folk. I assume it probably applies to a lot of situations. But the people you seek out when you have metastatic cancer are different from those you seek out when you’ve bought a classic car. Because whilst you’re all going to be very different in many ways, here’s the one thing you all have in common – You are all dying.